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S. Korea welcomes U.S. sanctions on N. Korean human rights violators

Korea on Thursday "welcomed" the United States' move to impose sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other high ranking officials for human rights violations, expressing hopes that the move will help the world better recognize the deplorable way the reclusive country treats its people.

On Wednesday (local time), the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted 23 officials and entities, including Kim, for their roles in the North's human rights abuses. Their assets in the U.S. will be frozen and those individuals will be banned from traveling and conducting any financial transactions there.

This was the first time Washington imposed direct sanctions on the North's leader and the designation also marked the first-ever U.S. sanctions on Pyongyang over its human rights abuses.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck speaks during a press conference at the ministry in Seoul on July 7, 2016.(Yonhap)
South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck speaks during a press conference at the ministry in Seoul on July 7, 2016.(Yonhap)
"The government highly praises and welcomes the step that the U.S. has taken in imposing sanctions on human rights violators in the North," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "This demonstrates its commitment to strengthening sanctions on the North on multiple fronts."

The ministry placed an emphasis on the fact that the latest sanctions have specified who are most responsible for the dire human rights situations in the North.

"The government expects that it will lead the world to better understand the systemic and extensive human rights violations going on in the North, while contributing much to advancing discussion in the international community and beefing up related countermeasures," it said.

The ministry said it strongly urges Pyongyang to listen to global calls and improve its human rights situations, while vowing to keep working with other countries on the matter.

A foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity later in the day that the detailed personal information, such as dates of birth, on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and others is a strong message that Washington is keeping close watch on perpetrators and will hold them accountable at a later date. This, he claimed, can serve as a warning not to commit human rights abuses going forward.

"The latest sanctions are expected to go beyond a symbolic move toward actually deterring (human rights violations)," he said.

"They will have a valid impact that could raise the awareness of the severity in the North's human rights conditions in the U.N. and international community and induce concerted measures." (Yonhap)

 

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